Convicted killer, 16, found dead in cell

City youth serving 12 years at Hagerstown facility discovered in pool of blood

January 27, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Armad Cloude was just 14, caught up in drug trafficking and violence, when he walked away from home detention and committed his last crime -- fatally shooting an older boy in a botched robbery.

Authorities are investigating the Baltimore boy's death at age 16. He was found in a pool of blood in his cell at an adult prison south of Hagerstown.

Cloude was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:50 a.m. Friday at the Maryland Correctional Training Center, said Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the state prison system.

Vernarelli said correctional officers found Cloude's body while releasing prisoners to go to breakfast about 3:30 a.m.

Cloude's cellmate, a 21-year-old man, was placed in segregation pending the results of an investigation.

No weapon was found in the cell, and the cause of death has not been determined, Vernarelli said.

"He did have a cellmate and that cellmate will be part of the investigation," Vernarelli said.

Vernarelli said the cell was in a "segregated tier," an area that houses inmates with behavioral problems as well as those in danger of attack by others.

Cloude was serving a 12-year sentence. He pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court in October 2002, at age 14, to second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Corey Mason.

Prosecutors said Cloude shot the older boy during a botched robbery attempt.

Despite his relative youth, Cloude had a long history of criminal activity.

He had survived being shot and was arrested several times for dealing and attempting to distribute drugs -- activities that landed him in the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for juvenile offenders.

At the school, Cloude accumulated 63 "negative student behavior reports," including 26 for ignoring staff directives.

Despite the poor review and Cloude's admission that he drank alcohol four times a week and smoked marijuana every day, counselors recommended to justice officials that the boy be sent home to his mother.

He was one of three juveniles whose escapes from home detention and commission of unrelated slayings prompted criticism of the state's juvenile justice system from then-gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

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